Fall 2013

10.21.2013 – Monday

Fall is here. While I wait for an opportunity to photograph the progress on the basement and gather just a bit more information on some odd battery monitor behavior, I thought it would be a good time to post some here-and-there cabin, workshop, and family photos.

On September 10th, 2013 Charlotte Violet was born. Here is a photo of her waving her approval of my obscure movie quote T-shirt.


When time provides, I’ve been working in the wood shop. Recently I took a greater interest in safety. From the beginning of this blog I invested time and resources into making the off-grid system safe. That’s why battery boxes and shields have been installed, face shields and gloves stocked, and plans made for battery acid exposure. I finally put some of that thought in to the wood shop. I’ve always been good about wearing safety glasses, ear protection, and maintaining a good 3-5″ finger distance from blades and carbide bits – so I already had some established safe practices. Valuing my fine motor skills (fingers), I built some great push blocks for the table saw and jointer and bought some push pads for the router table. I also made a bridged cross-cut sled to cut big and small items safely.

This is the table saw push block. It grips the board and pushes it through the cut, providing confidence and distance from the blade.


On the router table I made a custom jig to hold small pieces. I can duplicate small pieces by screwing a template to the bed and using double stick tape affix a piece of stock to the template.



Dust collection is near or at the top of the list when it comes to a woodworker’s hardest safety challenge. I irritated my nasal passages one day after routing some box joints on the router table. At that point I started my quest to better dust collection. The easiest fixes were adding a box fan to the ceiling and hanging a furnace filter in front of the fan and fine tuning the dust collection ductwork. I was losing suction from dust gates that would only close 80%. I cut the corners and eliminated the sawdust build up that blocked the dust gate closure. From there I added one more level of protection. Heeding the advice of one Marc Spagnuolo (www.thewoodwhisperer.com) I picked up a 3M 7500 Respirator and 3M P100 particulate filters. The respirator does a fantastic job in the area of comfort and function. It gets use with miter saw, table saw, and sanding operations, but not the router table…


The mask, amazingly, is no longer required when using the router table. I installed a router extension with quick change collet and under table dust collection. Both additions compliment the other and I’m very pleased with the cut down in dust and chips. The collect extension actually creates an improved seal with the dust cup.



Other than fine-tuning the safety in the shop I’ve had time to make picture frames, gun vises, a toy box, night stand, magazine shelf, diaper shelf, and refurbish some old chairs from Grandma. The gunsmith vise is the first project that has brought a positive income to the shop. I made a batch of four and have fine tuned the manufacturing process to the point where they could potentially generate income for the shop (ie – pay for bits, blades, varnish, and hardware for future projects). The first models netted $75 each. I’ll be making a second batch eventually, just not sure when.

IMG_5870 HDR

Oak chairs from Grandma’s estate. Old, worn out, and creaky. I tore them down, sanded, and wiped on two coats to refresh the finish. All the joinery was redone with modern dowels and modern glue. It was a reasonably thorough restoration.


Solid Cedar toy chest with box-jointed corners. Quite strong all things considered. Too bad it will undoubtedly get dented to great effect by the kiddos.


The night stand was a project long in the making. I built the top several months ago and milled the lumber. Then it sat. Finally about a month ago I assembled and finished it. It was one of those I’m-going-to-build-it-but-I-don’t-know-how sort of projects. I did what I knew how, then parked the project. Built some jigs. Practiced some joinery. Practiced staining and varnishing. Then came back to it.


The most recent project was for the cabin. I built a box-joint stool for Mom. The current stool was a bit tired and not as well built. This replacement should do quite nicely.


With continuing refinements to the wood shop I’m looking forward to more sophisticated projects. There are two upcoming projects for the cabin worthy of mention. The first is a billiard cue rack designed to hold eight cues, two sets of balls, brush, chalk, and two racks. The second is a bit simpler, and is a spruce beam in the basement that will conceal the main center floor joist.

And lastly, this Fall’s family photo.



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